Search to find buyer for Flame Heating Group as consumer confidence 'dented' due to coronavirus

Efforts are under way to find a buyer for a heating and plumbing business.

Thursday, 19th March 2020, 12:03 pm
John Savage.
John Savage.

Flame Heating Group moved into Boldon Business Park in November 2018 after outgrowing its previous head office in Team Valley.

The company specialises in heating spares, commercial heating and plumbing, renewable energy and bathrooms, for both trade customers and the general public.

But Flame has struggled in recent months and the company is now in talks with accountants about a possible sale.

Established in 2011 with a single branch, the firm operated 11 trade counters across the North East and in Scotland at the time of the move and had a three-year expansion plan which would see it launch new trade counters across the North East and expand into new regions.

There were also hopes for investment in additional bathroom showrooms following on from its first showroom launch, in Durham, in 2017.

Bosses hoped to create up to 60 new jobs – doubling the company’s workforce – and the firm’s expansion saw it open a trade counter in Carlisle in April 2019.

A company spokesman confirmed to the Echo and Gazette that a buyer was being sought, and said: “We experienced difficult trading conditions during the latter part of 2019, during the general downturn in the property market.

“While there was an initial rise in trade in the early part of the year, consumer confidence has again been dented by the ongoing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

“The business has done its utmost to make efficiencies, but this has proven difficult; we are now liaising with Steve Ross and Matthew Higgins of RSM with a view to finding a buyer for the business.”

Flame was named as one of Britain’s top 100 private companies when it comes to delivering sales growth in December, ranking 76th in the 2019 Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table, after recording sales of £20.1million and a 50 per cent annual sales growth over three years.

Managing director John Savage spoke of the company’s hopes for the future at the time of the counter opening in Carlisle last year.

He revealed aims to extend into more regions across the UK, in line with a company-wide expansion plan.